Sure, Four Card Poker is only one more card than the original Three Card Poker game. However, aside from the table setup and initial betting structure, these two games are played with very different rules.
Using a Fifty-two card deck, a game of Four Card Poker begins with each player making a wager in the Ante circle on the table and an optional wager in the circle marked Aces Up. Multiple players may sit at the table. If a player selects to play both the Ante and Aces Up bets the bet amounts must be equal for each. Once all the best have been made, the cards are dealt (this is the point where things may get a little confusing). Untrue to its name, players are dealt five facedown cards, as opposed to the logical surmise of being dealt four. The dealer is dealt six cards total – one faceup and the other five facedown. Regarding the name-of-the-game, both the player’s hand and casino dealer’s hand are molded into the highest possible four card hand. However, the dealer’s hand is not exposed – aside from the one card – until the player decides to continue playing or folding the hand, and thereby losing the ante bet.
In order to keep one’s hand in the game, the player must make a Play Bet by putting chips at least equal to the ante bet in the Play Bet circle (either 1x or 3x). If the player had made the Aces Up Bet, its fate is determined once the cards are dealt. Like the Pair Plus Bet in Three Card Poker, there is no skill involved in getting this bet to win, nor is it dependent on the dealer’s hand. The Aces Up Bet wins simply if the player’s hand is a pair of Aces or better. The payoff is according to the paytable, which may slightly vary at different casinos. Also like Three Card Poker, Four Card offers an ante bonus, which is paid out according to a separate paytable. Generally, the payout for a Three-of-a-Kind is 2 to 1, a Straight Flush is 20 to 1, and a Four-of-a-Kind is 25 to 1. Payouts are made regardless of the outcome of the dealer’s hand.
Unlike Three Card Poker, the dealer’s hand does not have to qualify. Simply put, the best ranking four-card poker hand wins. If the player’s hand wins, both the ante and play bets are paid off according to the paytable. If the dealer wins, both bets are forfeited. In the rare event of a tie, the player wins. The fifth card is never used to break ties.
Hands are ranked according to standard poker rankings, except that Flush’s, Straight’s and Straight Flushes are weighed in the same manner, but with only four cards. Four example, a Straight would be four cards of different suits in consecutive numeric value.